Team Valor International’s Pluck, winner of last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (Grade II) at Churchill Downs, returns to the races at the Louisville track Thursday after a nearly seven-month layoff when he faces nine rivals in the eighth running of the $100,000-added Commonwealth Turf (GIII) for 3-year-olds.
The Commonwealth Turf, run at 1 1/16 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course and won last year by Yankee Fourtune, will be the 11th race on Thursday’s 12-race program with an approximate post time of 5:43 p.m. (all times Eastern). First post time for the Thursday card is 12:40 p.m.
Sidelined because of bruised cannon bones after running seventh in the Transylvania (GIII) at Keeneland in April, Pluck has won three of six starts on the grass and has career earnings of $727,290. Julien Leparoux has the riding assignment on Pluck, who will break from post position two under 118 pounds for trainer Graham Motion.
Shouldering top weight of 120 pounds will be Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Live in Joy. Winner of the Capital City at Penn National in July, Live in Joy will break from the rail under Joel Rosario in his Churchill Downs debut for trainer Wayne Catalano.
The field for the Commonwealth Turf, from the inside out, is as follows: Live in Joy (Rosario, 120 pounds), Pluck (Leparoux, 118), Silver Medallion (John Velazquez, 118), Perregaux (Edgar Prado, 118), Twinspired (Paco Lopez, 118), Wilkinson (Garrett Gomez, 118), Humble and Hungry (Jose Lezcano, 118), Suntracer (Robby Albarado, 118), Chalice (Javier Castellano, 118) and Salto (IRE) (Olivier Peslier, 118). Also eligibles: Will’s Wildcat (Calvin Borel, 118), Fleet Beat (Jesus Castanon, 118) and Friends Place (Albarado, 118).